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How easements work

There are essentially two steps in the Trust's conservation easement donation process – assessment and acquisition.

First, we assess your property to determine if it meets the Trust's criteria – provincial significance, cost of administering the easement, heritage character of the property, etc. The property may be of greater interest to other government departments or agencies, or non-governmental not-for-profit bodies. Under the recently amended Conservation Lands Act of Ontario, municipalities, conservation authorities and non-governmental not-for-profit natural heritage organizations are now empowered to acquire and hold natural heritage conservation easements. If the property is determined to be appropriate to acquire and hold in trust for the people of Ontario by the Trust's Board of Directors, then acquisition phase begins. The Trust requires a registerable legal description of the property, an appraisal of the property or easement interest (if a tax receipt is requested for the value of the donation), and a confirmation that the legal title to the property is clear.

When a donor is contemplating a donation of a conservation easement to the Trust, we strongly recommend that he/she seek independent tax and legal advice. For more information on easements, please feel free to contact us at easements@heritagetrust.on.ca.

Once the easement has been acquired, its administration is fairly straightforward. When the owner proposes alterations, it is the role and responsibility of the Trust to ensure that the alterations are carried out in a manner consistent with the conservation purpose of the easement – usually by offering advice and putting you in touch with conservation specialists in your area.

Easements do not prohibit change. Instead, they ensure that change is managed in a manner consistent with sound conservation principles. And because the easement runs with the title of the property, the conditions for the property's conservation remain in place should you sell or bequeath the property, thereby ensuring its long-term preservation. The Trust is then responsible for monitoring the site to ensure that the easement's original conservation intentions are followed.

Site markers

The Trust provides easement property owners with markers. In addition to indicating the Trust's easement interest in the property, these markers recognize the commitment of landowners and communities across Ontario to the conservation of the province's heritage. They also identify properties as being of cultural or natural heritage significance.

For more information on heritage conservation easements, please contact us at easements@heritagetrust.on.ca.

Heritage Matters

Heritage Matters

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